In terms of spring break destinations, there aren't many that are deemed better than that of Cancun, Mexico. It's the classic spring breaking spot that has all of the essentials: sand, sun, surf, a social environment, and nightlife. Everyone knows what they want to do once they arrive at this party central, but there's often a lack of emphasis on what not to do there.
All in all, Cancun is considered a safe destination to visit which is part of the reason it gets such a big hype when it comes to vacations such as spring break. With that being said, there are still some things travelers should be avoiding during their time spent in this sunny seaside city.
Updated by Lauren Feather, March 6, 2022: As spring breakers are descending upon popular vacation spots once more, the most popular spring break destinations will surely continue see crowds like they used to do before the pandemic. But as with every epic spring break hotspot - Cancun included - there's an ever-growing list of things to avoid. To keep up with those in the know who've given heed of what to do and what not to do in Cancun, we've included a few more things for this year's spring break crowd to avoid, including common tourist scams for one.
Skipping Out On Its Ancient Destinations
It's a traveler's prerogative to decide if they want to spend the entire vacation on the beach - but that doesn't mean they should. With iconic ancient sites within such close range to Cancun, it would be a shame to visit this city without making the trek to one of its most historic landmarks. One of the most popular ancient sites visited from Cancun is Chichén Itzá, which is now more than 1,200 years old. It's also one of the Seven Wonders of the World, so there's no reason to avoid checking this off one's bucket list.
Not interested in history? Don't worry - there are two more destinations well within the range of Cancun that are worth leaving the nightclub for. The first is Playa del Carmen, which is home to a stunning beach and plenty of off-the-beaten-path things to do. The second is Tulum, which is known for its iconic tropical scenery and adventurous jungle treks. Tulum is under two hours from Cancun by bus, and Playa del Carmen is even closer!
Other sites to see while in Cancun:
- El Rey Maya Ruins
- Maya Museum (Museo Maya de Cancun)
- Cancun Underwater Museum
- El Meco Archeological Site
- Scenic Tower in the hotel district
- Urbano Kabah Park
- Isla Mujeres
Falling For Tourist Traps
The Hotel Zone in Cancun is home to more than 200 nightclubs alone, which makes picking the best ones quite the challenge. Travelers to Cancun will likely be bombarded with special event nights and fliers advertising certain specials and themes, but shouldn't fall for all of them. As with any social scene, it's better to talk to the locals before committing to a specific club or lounge simply based on a promotional flier - even check in with the hotel or resort concierge before deciding.
When in doubt, travelers should do their own research and scout around online to determine which clubs offer the best entertainment and specials. Rather than wasting time at a mediocre club, it's better to do the research and end up at one that's worth your pesos.
- Tip: Those frequenting the beach might even find that some of the best party scenes are happening on the beach! One doesn't need to travel far to find the nightlife in Cancun which is what makes it such a great social destination.
Passing Up All-Inclusive Resorts
They might cost more money and some might have a dicey reputation but all-inclusives are definitely something to consider in Cancun. One of the most popular options is to go with one of the Palace Resorts, which offers plenty for eager travelers looking to do more than party or sit on the beach. These resorts offer a wide range of activities from water sports to spas and even romance packages. They're an excellent option for those looking to get the most out of their spring break, including taking in a tour or tropical excursion or two.
More extreme activities such as scuba or adrenaline-themed excursions also make the list at certain all-inclusives, which truly diversifies the type of trip one can look forward to. Additionally, they can be much more affordable when travelers consider how much they'd spend on food and activities outside of an all-inclusive resort cost. Many resorts offer a continental breakfast at a minimum, which means the cost of breakfast is automatically eliminated for one week. Additionally, all-inclusives often offer some type of meal credits to be used on lunch or dinner, as well as a spa or other service credits. And, yes, for those wondering, a beverage credit is often included in the price of an all-inclusive, as well.
- Note: The only downside to an all-inclusive is that travelers will likely still need to venture out to find the best nightlife. The best clubs and lounges won't be found at resorts, which might sway a traveler from booking an all-inclusive over a hotel that's down the street from a popular club.
Falling For Scams
Cancun is very safe for tourists, however it's not immune to visitor-targeted scams just like all other vacation destinations around the world. And the happy-go-lucky-care-free spring breaker attitude combined with copious amounts of booze can make a person an easy victim for would-be con artists seeking to pull a fast one on unsuspecting partiers.
No matter how much fun one is having or how swimmingly life seems to be going, it's important to be aware of the possibility of scams when out and about - and some of these were reported by tourists in Cancun themselves who've fallen prey to these common yet easy-to-avoid cons.
Cancun ATM Scams
There are loads of ATMs in Cancun, of which there are two kinds: those owned by banks and others owned by private individuals. As a general rule of thumb, tourists are advised to use only the ones owned by banks for the lowest fees, since it's very common for private ATMs to charge extortionate amounts and poor exchange rates for their use. Also, just like anywhere else on the planet, ATMs in Cancun are sometimes tampered with in order to skim bank cards or record one's PIN number through a camera- so be sure to check the machine and cover your PIN before using it.
Credit Card Scams
Whilst this one isn't just limited to Cancun either, it's still important to be aware of it. Always make sure to be present when your card is swiped and don't hand it over for it to be taken out of sight. At bars and restaurants, the staff should bring the card machine to you - never hand it over or allow it to be taken elsewhere.
Never wait until arrival at the destination - always agree a price with the taxi driver up front first before accepting a ride. Also, make sure that you are aware if the price quoted is in dollars or pesos. A common scam involves the driver telling the passenger that the price is "50", which they assume is in pesos. However, upon arrival at the destination, it turns out that the driver means dollars - a significantly higher and extortionate price for a short ride.
Boozy Bar Scams
It can be easy to fall victim to these scams, particularly when one has already had a few drinks. Ensure that you count drinks and check your bar tab - it's not uncommon for extra drinks that you never even had to be added to your bill in the hopes that you'd be too tipsy to notice. Also, at some bars, sneaky staff have been known to take away half-finished drinks whilst you aren't paying attention or are away dancing. Why? You'll probably think you must've finished your drink, and thus you'll quickly order another to add to your mounting bar tab.